On Thursday, October 11, 2012, swanky eco-friendly nightclub in Soho, Greenhouse, was completely transformed into a pop-up shop extravaganza. Fresh Water Pop Up Shop was founded by photographer, Amon Focus, and senior marketing manager, Tamika Blocket to support Roots of Development’s latest Haiti initiative. The unique fundraising/shopping event displayed a photo exhibit of Amon’s work in Haiti, and vendors showcased and sold their goods at discounted prices all for a good cause.
The vendors included: Ashtyn, TSA by OSA, Eki’s Famous, Little Miss Mika, Nicolye, Cousin & Co, Dan Cruz, Exclusive Eyewear Fameish, Skin by Renee, and Ketta Vaughn Cosmetics. Stylish and artistic New Yorkers poured in the dark room to find great fashion gems, and also to support Roots of Development’s third Community Water System in La Gonave, Haiti. Read more about the project here.
Beautiful supermodel, Jessica White, hosted Fresh Water Pop Up Shop, and spoke passionately about the initiative. “I am very passionate about this project. We are not here to enable people, but rather help them develop into a good working community,” White said. Chad Bissonnette, co-founder of Roots of Development added that they are different from most initiatives. The organization does not believe in just handing out donations to people. The organization is not about charity or having people depend on them. Roots of Development is a strong advocate of finding a way for communities to come together and work toward progress. Chad talked about the difference between giving someone clothes and food, and helping them build a business to support their family and boost their country’s economy.
A quote for Roots of Development’s website: We do development, not charity. If the efforts you are supporting only help a population meet its immediate needs and don’t provide the population with an opportunity to address those needs again on their own in the future, you are doing relief work or charity, not development.
I had a brief chat with Jessica White about her involvement with the project. This is not the first time she has been involved with helping out the Haitian community. Her ex-boyfriend, Sean Penn is a very active figure in charity and development in Haiti. Although Jessica has no current plans of visiting Haiti, she is completely behind what Roots of Development is doing for the country.
Zing Experience, a band by Paul Beaubrun, the youngest son of one of the most famous Haitian couples, Lolo and Manze Beaubrun of Boukman Eksperyans, brought down the house last night. They performed a nice variety of Rasin, Roots, and Reggae songs that had the whole party moving and shouting, “Ayibobo!” I spoke with Paul for a bit too, and it turns out that we, along with Haitian model, Soukena Jean-Jacques all went to the same school in Haiti!
Another wonderful night with wonderful people who are making a different in Haiti. Anpil men, chay pa lou.